The debate between larger and smaller government has raged for at least a few hundred years and doesn't seem likely to end anytime soon. Capitalism, or government forms that allows markets to determine our economic policies, and democracy, that allows for people to elect and rule themselves seems to be one of the few examples that buck the trend of Socialism, Communism, Theocracies and Dictatorships. Yet this form of government has also taken on larger and larger governmental forms with increasing debt structures resembling a more European outlook.
Advantages of Smaller Government:
1. Generally a wealthier society with more investment opportunities and lower tax rates.
2. Local control of government allowing each location and culture to determine how they shall rule and be ruled.
3. More personal "buy in" into the benefits and value of the government system.
4. More freedom and less restriction on life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
5. Natural economic cycles that promote innovation.
6. Generally less debt due to less government expense (doesn't seem to apply to the U.S.)
Disadvantages of Smaller Government:
1. Less control over "mob" mentality and voting based on trends of the day.
2. Transient values that radically change with each generation.
3. Corporate influence over government officials that may not have the best interest of society in mind.
4. Less control and influence over the populations' belief systems.
5. Little short-term control over economic fluctuations.
6. Lack of centralized control over laws.
With bigger government comes more control over our lives, finances, occupations and future. Sometimes this control can be beneficial in helping corporations fulfill their responsibilities to their people but can also limit future investment and innovation. As a species leadership and "big money" often seek more control over the legal system, population, education, and government spending while at the same time desiring less government control over their operations and income. Ensuring a minimal government just large enough to handle the demands of modern society seems to be the most advantageous route to protect investment and individual rights.
Permission to reprint with appropriate attribution-Dr. Murad Abel